Back Sierra Leone
Status regarding Budapest ConventionStatus : NA Declarations and reservations : N/A See legal profile
The country has a National ICT Policy, developed in 2009, which proposes a strategic vision for the development of the sector. The development of a clear vision and legal frameworks in the field of cybersecurity and the fight against cybercrime is one of the priorities of the National ICT Policy. The Ministry of Information and Communications and the National Telecommunications Commission (NATCOM) are in charge of implementing the government’s defined priorities in the ICT sector.
The country published a National Innovation and Digital Strategy in 2019. The strategy covers not only education, health and justice, entrepreneurship and society but also cyber security. It has given the Ministry of Information and Communication leverage to demand resources for a cyber security strategy.
The government of Sierra Leone has drafted a National Cyber Security policy (process finalized in March 2021), and currently is under consultation with different stakeholders in the country.
The draft National Cyber Security policy includes five strategic objectives in the sphere, including the development of legislation on cybercrime. The policy document also mentions the creation of a National Cyber Security Council (NCSC), of a National Cyber Emergency Response Coordination Unit (NCERCU) and of a National Cyber Incidence Response Team (NCIRT).
State of cybercrime legislation
On June 23, 2021, the Parliament of Sierra Leone passed the Cyber Security and Crime Crime Bill into law. The Act was enacted by the President of Sierra Leone in November 2021.
The act provides prevention on the abusive use of computers and a timely and effective collection of electronic evidence for investigation and prosecution of cybercrime. It will also protect critical national information infrastructure, promote cybersecurity, protect computer programs, intellectual property and privacy rights.
The Cyber Security and Crime Crime Act 2021 was developed to align with the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime with Sierra Leone’s intent to join the convention in the future. The Bill was drafted with the support of the ECOWAS Commission, European Union and the Council of Europe.
Cyber Security and Cyber Crime Act 2021, Part VI Offences:
- Section 33. Unauthorised access.
- Section 34. Unauthorised access to protected system.
- Section 35. Unauthorised data interception.
- Section 36. Unauthorised data interference.
- Section 37. Unauthorised system interference.
- Section 38. Misuse of divice.
- Section 39. Unauthorised disclosure of password.
- Section 40. Computer related forgery.
- Section 41. Computer fraud.
- Section 42. Identity theft and impersonation.
- Section 43. Electronic signature.
- Section 44. Cyber stalking and bullying.
- Section 45. Cyber Squatting.
- Section 46. Infringement of copyright and related rights.
- Section 47. Online child sexual abuse.
- Section 48. Online adult sexual abuse.
- Section 49. Attempting and Aiding or Abetting.
- Section 50. Registration of cyber cafes.
- Section 51. Cyber Terrorism.
- Section 52. Racist Xenophobic Offences.
- Section 53. Reporting cyber threats.
- Section 54. Breach of confidence by service provider.
- Section 55. Employees responsibility.
- Section 56. Corporate liability.
- Section 57. Acts by children.
Cyber Security and Cyber Crime Act 2021, Part III
- Section 9. Scope of Powers and Procedures.
- Section 10. Search and Seizure of Stored Computer data.
- Section 11. Record of and Access to Seized Data.
- Section 12. Production Order.
- Section 13. Expedited Preservation and Partial Disclosure of Traffic Data.
- Section 14. Real-Time Collection of traffic Data.
- Section 15. Interception of content data.
- Section 16. Confidentiality and Limitation of Liability.
- Section 17. Territorial Jurisdiction.
- Section 18. Prosecution of Extraditable Offences.
- Section 19. Forfeiture to the State.
- Section 20. Restitution.
1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone, subsequently amended, provides in Chapter III for the recognition and protection of fundamental human rights and freedoms of the individual: fundamental human rights and freedoms of the individual, protection of right to life, protection from arbitrary arrest or detention, protection from inhuman treatment, protection from deprivation of property, protection for privacy of home and other property, protection of freedom of expression and the press.
Cyber Security and Cyber Crime Act 2021 provides specific safeguards and conditions related to procedural powers, such as judicial oversight and recognition of legal privileges and gives effect to principles of necessity and proportionality.
Related laws and regulations
Other legal instruments exist, such as the Telecommunications Act 2006, the Anti-Corruption Act 2008 (that mentions the acceptance of electronic evidence, but not in the scope of cybercrime) the Anti-Money Laundering and Combating of Financing of Terrorism Act 2012 and the Right to Access Information Act 2013.
Ministry of information and Communications
Sierra Leone Police has a specialised cybercrime unit.
Competent authorities and channels
Office of the Attorney General operates as central authority in relation to cybercrime offences and offences that involve electronic evidence.
The Extradition Act, No. 11 of 1974 providing for extradition requirements is complemented by the provisions of Section 24, Part v - International cooperation of the Cyber Security and Cyber Crime Act 2021.
Sources and links
- 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone, subsequently amended
- Cyber Security and Cyber Crime Act 2021
- National Cyber Security and Data Protection Strategy 2017 -2022
- Institute for Security Studies
- Sierra Leone: The Criminal Procedure Act, 1965
- Right to Access Information Act 2013, Sierra Leone
- Anti-Money Laundering and Combating of Financing of Terrorism Act 2012, Sierra Leone
- Anti-Corruption Act 2008, Sierra Leone
- Telecommunications Act 2006, Sierra Leone
- National Innovation and Digital Strategy
These profiles do not necessarily reflect official positions of the States covered or of the Council of Europe.
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- Cybercrime website
- Template: Mutual Legal Assistance Request for subscriber information (Art. 31 Budapest Convention). English and bilingual versions available.
- Template: Data Preservation Request (Articles 29 and 30 Budapest Convention). English and bilingual versions available.